Check out this op-ed from the Times of Israel, “My son, the cross-dresser.”
The boy the author describes is a lot like my son – loves tractors and building things, and wants to play with trucks and build in a dress. It’s a great little piece, so you should go read it right now.
A few things I found interesting about it:
You don’t often see parents posting photos of their gender-fluid kids online here in the States. There are a few exceptions, like Princess Boy’s Dyson. I have posted a photo of my kid from the back or with his face blurred out. Why? – to protect his privacy, and so his 16 year-old self doesn’t hate me. There is a general nervousness parents express, though — about setting their kids up to be bullied or targeted, and perhaps, if we’re honest, sometimes about a little worry or discomfort with the way their kids look? What do you think?
Is it more acceptable (or safer) because this kid is only 2 1/2 rather than 6, or 8? Would it actually be helpful to have lots more images of variety in presentation available in the public?
2) How many of the same responses I’ve been noticing personally the author also addresses – the idea that parents are pushing their kids into the “wrong” clothes, the worry and desire to “help” parents get back on track before (what? it’s rarely expressed). The difficulty with the notion that a small child could choose (or should be allowed to choose) his form of self-expression. By the way, I have had adults pull friends aside to ask if I need some more boy clothes donated for my son to wear.
3) The reality that, behind every brave tie-wearing girl with a crew cut or skirt-wearing boy with a ponytail, there are several more kids who would like more options for self-expression but who, for varying reasons, won’t say so unless they see those options put on the table. This will inevitably get presented as kids like mine encouraging other boys to wear skirts, but that’s not the case. Those boys were longing for sparkly leggings or an occasional hair bow long before they met him. But maybe it’s not a big enough deal to rock the boat over . . . until my kid comes in with his new gold metallic gladiator sandals and braids. Then I hear whispers to parents, “Why can’t I have that?!”